“I think my life today is more beautiful than before diagnosis”
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Spiegel, you are 36 years old, heterosexual, HIV-positive, and committed to more openness in dealing with the infection. The Name of Philipp the mirror is but a Pseudonym, because you don’t want to speak under your real name about your experience. Sounds like a contradiction.
Philipp mirror: Right, but it is the Dilemma in which I for years was: On the one hand, accompanies me always, the fear to be discovered. Even today, almost five years after the diagnosis, albeit in a much attenuated Form. On the other hand, there is so much ignorance, ignorance and prejudice against HIV-Positive. Since I have to open the door as Affected just the mouth.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What, in your opinion, wrong?
Philipp Spiegel: As a heterosexual man, I belong to the group of HIV-Positive, about which hardly anyone speaks. HIV and Aids will still be with being gay, drugs, or Prostitution associated. When I tell someone of my Status, I can see how the movie in your head: Freddie Mercury, emaciated body, death. Today, I can handle it, but for a long time it made it incredibly difficult to speak freely about it.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you live with the Virus?
Philipp Spiegel: Very well, I feel in everyday life, none of it. Only once I was sick, that was shortly after the infection, I now know. I have not plugged in the case of a woman who knew herself that she is HIV-positive. It is a short time went to me at the time, physically very poorly, presumably because the virus increased sharply. Since then, I’m in Vienna a doctor’s care and take medication, take one pill every day. Side effects I have no. Every three months my doctor checked my blood and to check whether the virus below the detection limit. Because this is always the case, I can infect anyone. I can have Sex to not infect someone and I could have healthy children.
In the Video: HIV positive – My life with the Virus
SPIEGEL ONLINE: do you Have someone infected?
Philipp Spiegel: thank God not. Between my infection and diagnosis some months passed, and in the case of three women it was, in retrospect, questionable. But you have to get tested and are HIV-negative. I don’t want to know how it feels to have someone infected.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Are you angry at the woman you infected?
Philipp Spiegel: no, I don’t blame her. You didn’t know of their infection. Rather, I made me self-reproach, how I could be so stupid and careless.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How has the diagnosis made?
Philipp Spiegel: I was just in an Ashram in the deepest part of India and had an HIV Test, in order to live. I was aware of my health, so sure! As the blood results came in front of me, I didn’t want to have them come true. I was rigid, as if in a shock and saw my life flash before my inner eye to reminisce. To me, it was immediately clear that I can do this alone. My brother was the First one who replied to my cry for help.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How did he react?
Philipp Spiegel: He is the Problem very analytically tackled: What do we know? What does this mean? What can we do? With a shock, I was no longer alone. In the first night, I learned what the Virus, what drugs look like, and that despite HIV infection, with good therapy, a normal life expectancy. Correct me this Knowledge but only a number of years has helped later.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: what do you mean by that?
Philipp mirror: The psychological consequences of the diagnosis were much more severe than the physical. In me a paralyzing fear spread far and wide. The first time I was afraid to infect others, and that you look at me the virus. Then I was afraid of the reactions if I oute me from defamation and the General hatred in the network. And fear of being discovered. The feeling to be caught, made me tense and aggressive.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: in the Meantime, you have hundreds of Outings. It was not as bad as feared?
Philipp Spiegel: at the beginning Yes, but not for the expected reason. Family and friends have condemned me never. Instead, I was burdened but every Time to see my own fell under the heavy load, the I him. The closer someone was, the more shocked he or she responded. I then had to calm down, although I even beat the heart up to the neck.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: you were the Bearer of bad tidings, and the Comforter at the same time?
Philipp Spiegel: Exactly.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: And today?
Philipp Spiegel: Today, I feel burdened by the disease even much less. I know the most Important thing about the Virus and its consequences and can be explained by the fact my To my Conviction out exactly what it means for me to be HIV-positive. I have gained control back and not feel trapped at last.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In your Pseudonym and you remain still?
Philipp Spiegel: Yes, but who’s my real name get out, can it find out. I don’t want to be vulnerable to blackmail. On the other hand, I work as a photographer and see my work regardless of the dispute with the infection. Maybe the topic is bugging me for sometime and I want to put it in the Public files.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Nevertheless, it is the Virus for a lifetime, HIV is still not curable.
Philipp mirror: Right, but today I am infinitely grateful for my life. I would take no medication, I would have to die, statistically in the next year. The confrontation with my own Vulnerability, my death has made me humble. I feel my life is even richer and more beautiful than it was before the diagnosis.